PCNSE Study Notes: Platforms and Architecture

PCNSE_ Study Notes

Here is the datasheet for the hardware platforms, has some good information to look over!

Security Platform Overview

  • Recon, Weaponize, Deliver, Exploitation, Installation, Command & Control, Act on Objective


  • Identifies and inspects all traffic
  • Blocks known threats
  • Sense unknown to cloud
  • Extends to mobile and virtual networks

Threat Intel Cloud:

  • Gathers potential threats from network and endpoints
  • Analyzes and correlates threat intel
  • Disseminates threat intel to network and endpoints

Advanced Endpoint Protection

  • Inspects all Processes and files
  • Prevents known and unknown exploits
  • Integrates with cloud to prevent known and unknown malware

Other items available:

  • Panorama: Centralized management of all PAN firewall points.
  • AutoFocus: Hosted security service, provides aggregate info on threat intel from multiple sources
  • Aperture: protection for cloud-based systems like box, sales force, etc. helps manage permissions and file scans. focused on DLP, PCI, and other personally exploitable data.
  • GlobalProtect: VPN that puts traffic back through the firewall to ensure traffic scanning, traffic visibility and security.

Next Gen Firewall Architecture

  • Single-Pass Architecture
    • Per-Packet Operations:
    • Traffic Classification with App-Id
    • User/group mapping
    • Content Scan (threats, URL, confidential data)
  • Parallel Processing
    • Function specific parallel processing hardware engine
    • Separate data/control plane
  • PAN is a single-pass Parallel Processing system.
    • Dataplane:
    • Signature Matching
      • IPS, virus, spyware, CC#, SSN
  • Security Processing
    • App-ID, User-ID, URL Match, Policy Match, App Decoding, SSL/IPSec, decompression
  • Network Processing
    • Flow Control, Route Lookup, MAC lookup, QoS, NAT
  • Control Plane:
    • Managment
      • Configuration, Management UI, Logging, Reporting
  • Zero Trust Security Model
    • No trust provided by default
    • Never Trust, always verify
    • Need to establish trust boundaries
    • NGFW offer several options to help approach the zero-trust model:
      • App-ID, User-ID, URL filtering, Vuln filtering, anti-spyware, anti-virus, Traps, file blocking, DOS protection, Zone Protection, Wildfire

Public Cloud Security

  • SaaS security provided by Apreture
  • Can be spun up on demand
  • Can be managed through Panorama, same or different device groups

Firewall Offerings

    • Physical devices:
      • PA-220, PA-800, PA-5200 – Next Gen hardware.
      • PA-7050 and PA-7080 are Chassis architecture
    • Virtual devices:
      • VM-700, VM-500, VM-300, VM-100, VM-50, VM-50lite
      • Supported environment:
        • ESXi: All
        • KVM/Openstack: All
        • Hyper-V: All
        • VMWare NSX: VM100-500
        • AWS: VM100-700
        • Azure: VM100-700
      • New sessions all models: 8000 per second
      • IPSec throughput, all models: Varies according to model (originally was 250mbps, per the training, however documentation states otherwise. Please see the hardware spec sheet at the top of this post for specifics)
    • Virtual Systems
      • Ability to have seperate virtual firewalls in a single physical chassis
      • Each system has its own zones, policies, administrators.
  • Supported on the 3k/5k/7k models

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